Tommy Mesa

Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa has established himself as one of the most charismatic, innovative, and engaging performers of his generation. Mesa was the winner of the $50,000 First Prize in the 2016 Sphinx Competition; the Thaviu Competition for String Performance (Chicago, 2013); The Astral Artists 2017 National Auditions; and the Alhambra Orchestra Concerto Competition. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the United States and Mexico, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Santa Barbara Symphony, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra, which received this rave review from the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “A listener with closed eyes would have been hard pressed to distinguish [Mesa’s] shapely, expressive performance from that of another gifted artist two or three times his age.”

As a recitalist, appearances include the Mainly Mozart Festival, The Academy of Arts and Letters in NYC, Bargemusic, University of Miami’s Signature Series, Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Columbia University, Flagler Museum, Carnegie Hall, The U.S. Supreme Court, The Heifetz Institute, California Center for the Arts, Meadowmount School of Music, Strad for Lunch Series, International Beethoven Project, Perlman Music Program Alumni Recital, and universities nationwide.

As a recording artist, Mesa was featured on the Grammy-nominated album Bonhoeffer with the multiple Grammy-winning choir The Crossing. He has appeared with them as soloist at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Longwood Gardens, The Winter Garden (broadcast on WNYC), and the Theological Seminary in New York City. Mesa and The Crossing also collaborated on the American premiere of Astralis for choir and solo cello by renowned composer Wolfgang Rihm and have more collaborations and premieres scheduled for future seasons. Other recording projects include the piano and cello works of Brahms, Beethoven, a whole album dedicated to the music of Debussy, and a special project in collaboration with PARMA Recordings that will bring together and record new works for solo cello and cello/piano. This project will include an album release concert at The DiMenna Center in New York City and the album will be available on all commercial streaming platforms.

As an ensemble musician, Mesa is touring with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and is the principal cellist of Sphinx Virtuosi, who have played at almost every major venue across the United States. As a driving force in Sphinx Virtuosi, Mesa has been featured on tour in double concerti for the last couple years and in conjunction with the Sphinx Organization, Carnegie hall, and New World Symphony, and has commissioned a solo concerto by Jessie Montgomery to be toured in 2020. He has toured with Itzhak Perlman both nationally and internationally and is the cellist of the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet, which is in high demand, having played sold-out concerts at Barge Music, Bard Festival, Doheny Mansion, Kohl Mansion, Music Mountain and numerous other venues across the United States.

He is a sought-after educator for his ability to connect with students and teach them to teach themselves. He has given masterclasses at institutions such as U.C Berkeley, Boston Conservatory, Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of Miami, Meadowmount School of Music, Walnut Hill School, and has held faculty positions at Sphinx Performance Academy, The Heifetz Institute’s PEG Program, Music Mountain Festival and School, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Montecito International Music Festival, St. Petersburg International Music Academy, and The Mozart Academy at John Jay College in New York City.

Mesa received his B.M. from The Juilliard School, M.M. from Northwestern University, and is a doctoral candidate at Manhattan School of Music. His principal teachers were Timothy Eddy, Julia Lichten, Hans Jorgen Jensen, Mark Churchill, Ross Harbaugh, and Wells Cunningham. He has played a gorgeous cello for ten years made by Richard Tobin that was made in 1820. This cello was used to record soundtracks for the first movies ever created. Thomas Mesa appears courtesy of Astral Artists.